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Teaching Kids to Thrive


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Table of Contents

Foreword About the Authors Acknowledgments INTRODUCTION Why Teach Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in the Classroom? What Are the Thrive Skills? Taking This Book to the Next Level (Thrive Website) Thriving Together CHAPTER 1. MINDFULNESS IN THE CLASSROOM: SLOWING DOWN TO SPEED UP SUCCESS Why Don't They Just Pay Attention? Mindfulness: What It Is and What It Is Not Using Mindfulness in the Classroom Beginning a Mindfulness Practice Research on Mindfulness in the Classroom Implementation in the Classroom What Supporting Mindfulness Looks Like in the Classroom Frequently Asked Questions Discussion Questions and Exercises Thrive Skills in Action CHAPTER 2. HELPING STUDENTS WITH THEIR COMMAND AND CONTROL FUNCTIONS Executive Function: What Is It? The Six Skills of Executive Functioning EF Skill 1: Self-Regulation and Self-Control EF Skill 2: Working Memory EF Skill 3: Task Initiation, Organization, and Time Management EF Skill 4: Flexibility EF Skill 5: Emotional Regulation EF Skill 6: Focus What Supporting Executive Function Looks Like in the Classroom Frequently Asked Questions Discussion Questions and Exercises Thrive Skills in Action CHAPTER 3. CREATING STUDENT AGENCY THROUGH SELF-EFFICACY AND GROWTH MINDSET Self-Efficacy: What Is It? Self-Efficacy: What Is It Not? (Learned Helplessness) Aim for the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) Students' Beliefs About Success (Attribution Theory) Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets How Do We Help Students Develop Growth Mindsets? What Supporting Self-Efficacy and Growth Mindset Looks Like in the Classroom Frequently Asked Questions Discussion Questions and Exercises Thrive Skills in Action CHAPTER 4. PERSEVERANCE: PUSHING THROUGH DESPITE THE SETBACKS Quit Now or Finish? What Makes the Difference? Perseverance: What It Is and What It Is Not What Educators Need to Know About Perseverance What Does Perseverance Look Like in the Classroom? What Supporting Perseverance Looks Like in the Classroom Frequently Asked Questions Discussion Questions and Exercises Thrive Skills in Action CHAPTER 5. BOUNCING BACK: TEACHING KIDS ABOUT RESILIENCE Resilience: What Is It? Acknowledge the Struggle Normalize the Struggle The Classroom as the Tribe Resiliency in Boys Developing Resiliency Through Competency Building Hope What Supporting Resilience Looks Like in the Classroom Frequently Asked Questions Discussion Questions and Exercises Thrive Skills in Action CHAPTER 6. BUILDING A CULTURE OF RESPONSIBILITY IN THE CLASSROOM Give Kids a Chance to Act Responsibly Teaching Responsibility in an Entitled Society Using Accountability to Promote Responsibility Building a Culture of Responsibility Teachers as Models of Responsibility How Do We Reinforce Responsibility? What Supporting Responsibility Looks Like in the Classroom Frequently Asked Questions Discussion Questions and Exercises Thrive Skills in Action CHAPTER 7. CULTIVATING HONESTY AND INTEGRITY IN STUDENT CHOICES How Do We Teach Personal Integrity? How Do We Teach Academic Integrity? What Do We Do When Children Cheat? The Restorative Justice Approach The Courage to Take a Stand What Supporting Honesty and Integrity Looks Like in the Classroom Frequently Asked Questions Discussion Questions and Exercises Thrive Skills in Action CHAPTER 8. TAPPING INTO EMPATHY Empathy: What Is It? Does Everyone Have Empathy? What Does Empathy Look Like in Action? Why Is It Important to Teach About Empathy? Modeling Empathy in the Classroom Service Learning Projects Integrating Empathy Into the Curriculum The Power of Empathy What Supporting Empathy Looks Like in the Classroom Frequently Asked Questions Discussion Questions and Exercises Thrive Skills in Action CHAPTER 9. IT'S ALL ABOUT GRATITUDE "Pay It Forward" Is Still Thriving Gratitude: What Is It? What Research Tells Us About Gratitude Why We Should Teach Gratitude in the Classroom How Do We Teach Gratitude in the Classroom? What Supporting Gratitude Looks Like in the Classroom Frequently Asked Questions Discussion Questions and Exercises Thrive Skills in Action Final Words References Index

About the Author

Learn more about Debbie Silver's PD offerings Debbie Silver is truly a "teacher's teacher!" She is a former science teacher and an award-winning educator with 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher, staff development instructor, and university professor. Her numerous recognitions include being named the 1990 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year and the 2007 Distinguished Alumnus from the College of Education at Louisiana Tech University. Along the way, she has taught almost every grade level and most every kind of student. Debbie is one of the most popular keynoters and professional development presenters in the United States. Audiences everywhere respond to her use of humor and sensitivity to remind them of how important teachers are in the lives of children. Her insights into student, teacher, and parent/guardian behaviors are as enlightening as they are funny. Through research-based theory, poignant stories, and hilarious characterizations, she connects with the souls of all who are involved in the lives of children. Dr. Silver has been an invited author for several educational journals and has given keynotes at state, national, and international conferences in 49 states (just waiting on Delaware.), throughout Canada, Europe, Mexico, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, and Asia. Debbie is the author of the bestselling book Drumming to the Beat of Different Marchers: Finding the Rhythm for Differentiated Learning. She is a coauthor of two other best-sellers, Deliberate Optimism: Reclaiming the Joy in Education and Teaching Kids to Thrive: Essential Skills for Success. She and her husband, Dr. Lawrence Silver, have five grown sons, three daughters-in-law, two significant others, and eight grandchildren. When she's not working as an educational speaker and writer, Debbie loves to visit their boys' families in their assorted states. Debbie and Lawrence live in Melissa, TX with a German shepherd (Khali), two ragdoll cats (Khaki & Khan), and 2 aquatic frogs (Phil & Mike). Debbie can be reached through her website: www.debbiesilver.com Dedra Stafford is a dedicated consultant and a proud member of the Association of Middle Level Education and National Association of Secondary School Principals Speakers Cadres. She is an Educational Speaker and has presented at international, national, state, and local conferences across the nation including NMSA (National Middle School Association) sharing inspirational ideas, from technology to school climate. Dedra is passionate about providing quality staff development for educators. She an internationally known speaker, trainer and author in the educational world. Dedra creates entertaining workshops that get crowds energized, motivated, and inspired to be their 'best' for the students they serve. As a former classroom teacher, she understands the need for professional development where practical ideas can be implemented immediately into the classroom. She creates fun-filled workshops designed to be hands-on and interactive. Dedra has a unique ability to put educators at ease as she teaches concepts and beliefs incorporated with humor in a user friendly way. She speaks on the topics of about technology, climate, curriculum, and classroom techniques resulting in her audience laughing, learning, and having new enthusiasm for their work.


"The 2017-2018 school year started off with a great excitement in Roxbury this year! With the support of Corwin, our district was delighted to welcome Mrs. Debbie Silver, author of Teaching Kids to Thrive, Deliberate Optimism, and Fall Down 7 Times, Get up 8, as keynote speaker. She delivered an exhilarating address to over 500 staff members getting them excited about the prospect of a new school year, mindfulness strategies, and self-efficacy. She then led independent breakout sessions for our elementary and secondary populations with a focus on stress management and deliberate optimism. I can't imagine a better way to have kicked off our school year and gotten our staff excited about the return of our students than Debbie. She was entertaining, heart-warming, and knowledgeable, what a perfect combination. I would recommend Debbie to any school looking to establish these skills without hesitation."

-- Charles Seipp

"Teaching Kids to Thrive: Essential Skills for Success is a book that not only argues effectively for including social and emotional learning in every classroom, it also shows teachers how to do it. Debbie Silver and Dedra Stafford demonstrate how SEL instruction can be woven into all subject areas at every level of preK-12 education. They descriptively outline what SEL-friendly classrooms look like, and they provide a wealth of tools and strategies for educators who want to teach beyond the standards. I recommend this book for new and veteran teachers alike who want to help students learn to thrive both now and throughout their future lives."

-- Todd Whitaker, Professor of Educational Leadership

"Reading Teaching Kids to Thrive was like feeding my brain with PopRocks! It had me captivated, wondering, and marveling...all at the same time. Debbie and Dedra provide insightful research, actionable skills, and inspirational stories, while recognizing the voices of students and teachers at the turn of every page."

-- Dr. Russell J. Quaglia, Executive Director
"There are some books that you pick up and just cannot put down. Well, this is one of them. If you are ready to move beyond grit, then Teaching Kids to Thrive is the linchpin needed in every school system. The authors provide relevant research to build their case and share easy and simple teacher-approved strategies that can be used immediately. Any stakeholder in education who wants to transform school culture must make Teaching Kids to Thrive required reading." -- Simon T. Bailey and Marceta Reilly, Authors

"Debbie Silver and Debra Stafford go to the heart of schooling students in this century - addressing the power of mindfulness, the value of empathy, and boosting the resilience of young people at a time the world requires such a skill the most. Using relatable stories and strategies the goal to help students THRIVE is central in every chapter. Like a favorite piece of music, the authors' passion for education is extremely contagious and memorable."

-- Jennifer Buchanan, MBA, MTA

"Hoorah! Here is help with the overlooked aspects of teaching that matter most. Don't just read it, study it, live with it, and you too will thrive."

-- John Lounsbury, Dean Emeritus

"'Good teachers teach subjects. Great teachers teach students.'" This often repeated quote of unknown origin typifies both the authors of this book and the intent of the book's content. In a world where "all data counts but all that counts in not data" Debbie Silver and Dedra Stafford provide guidance and important information on how teachers can teach students some of the most important of all lessons, things that do not become part of the data base which too often defines students. Teaching students to Thrive guides teachers in how to incorporate essential social and emotional skills into daily routines. These are the essential skills students need in order to realize their potential not only as students but as successful and fulfilled members of society. As well as essential information, the authors incorporate practical activity guides to enable teachers to help their students become more successful in school and in life. Anecdotes, examples, and practical activities guide the reader to become more adept in incorporating social and emotional learning skills into everyday classroom environments. This book is a must-read for all teachers who harbor the desire to help their students develop the skills to successfully navigate not only school but life itself."

-- Duane Inman, Ph.D., Professor of Education

"In college courses, education students learn how to teach academic content. In Teaching Kids to Thrive, Silver and Stafford emphasize the importance of also teaching students. In a world changing at a pace rarely seen in human history, merely learning coursework won't be enough. Today's children need to be prepared to face challenges, and have the capacity to flourish, regardless of what life throws at them. Thrive has teacher-friendly strategies and support that allow even the most experienced educators to see real cognitive, social, and emotional growth in their students."

-- Cheryl Mizerny, Educator and Blogger

"Why should you read Teaching Kids to Thrive? Students today may be the most connected generation in history, but they can't find ways to connect with themselves. Dr. Debbie Silver and Dedra Stafford masterfully illustrate that "Thrive" skills can no longer be considered soft. This book evidences that learning how to control their bodies and emotions is every bit as essential to the modern learner as understanding how to control the devices that students love so dearly."

-- Jared Covili, Author

"Teaching Kids To Thrive: Essential Skills For Success is an excellent practical guide for educators who want to apply the ideas of Social Emotional Learning to their classroom."

-- Larry Ferlazzo, Teacher, Author and Education Week Teacher advice blogger

"Silver and Stafford have answered the question educators have asked time and again: "How, exactly, do I create a classroom culture conducive to growth, collaboration and critical thinking?" The book explores the importance of resilience, empathy, persistence and skills related to active listening to creating the mindset that will nurture and accelerate the continuous-improvement process. These are not "soft skills" that live on the periphery of textbook-driven, correct-answer-seeking lessons. They are life skills students need to practice - and teachers need to model - on the road to success in school, college, the workplace, and in a democracy. This is an eminently practical resource with enough research, examples, frequently asked questions, exercises, stories and humor for all educators; and all educators should have a copy of this book."

-- Ron Nash, Author/Consultant

"I am doing backflips over having this book in my life! I work with teachers every day and every day I field questions on how to support learners in being open and present for learning. It is true-- we are educating a different type of learner than those of earlier generations. And so our teaching must shift, remembering that we teach children, not curriculum. Silver and Stafford have written the guide to working with this new generation of students; one which begins with the social-emotional health of each learner. They tackle head-on the most challenging and real moments of teaching, creating a research-based, practical, tried-and-true (yet cutting edge) handbook to simply and powerfully show learners how to ground and bloom. While this book focuses on students, the outcomes will bring joy, fulfillment, and gratitude to teachers. I have been waiting for this book without knowing it and now it will be my go-to resource and recommended text on teaching students how to thrive in all educational settings and in life."

-- Patty McGee, Author/Consultant

"There are no convenient, instant answers to solve tough issues in education, and no one "event" can make a difficult student easy to teach. Great teaching is hard work. This book lays out a brilliant process for building Thrive skills. Read the book. Practice the skills. Practice patience and perseverance. Enjoy the rewards."

-- Dr. Monte Selby
"Plain spoken and practical with enough neuroscientific research to support what teachers and parents have been sensing but didn't have the knowledge to articulate." -- Dr. Susan Grant,Ph.D, LLC

"It is now time for student to truly thrive! Educators have been looking for a resource that puts the reality back in education. Silver and Stafford have done just that. The authors know about the importance of students understanding content, but they also realize that students must be optimistic, show integrity, understand empathy, and believe in gratitude. What we can learn from this book is that you may never lose a job in life because you're too smart; you get fired because you're not a nice person. Make sure you look at their examples and situations and try to change your practices within our classroom or school. Let's help our students thrive in all aspects of their life!"

-- Jack Berckemeyer, Educator, Author, Humorist and Consultant

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